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Arts & Culture


In Tunisia, a dance show to celebrate diversity

The arts organization L’Art Rue, in collaboration with Dream City, organizes dance performances for people with developmental disabilities, refugees and other disadvantaged minority groups in the country.

In the Tunisian capital, Tunis, a special dance show entitled “Lines” is drawing crowds. This production, scheduled to run until October 8, is part of the Dream City Festival, featuring diverse performers, including those with developmental abilities, refugees, and minority groups. It’s a celebration of diversity, bringing together 15 dancers from various backgrounds.

During the show, the audience was spellbound by the performance of 16-year-old Rayen, who uses a wheelchair, as he took the stage. Equally remarkable was the performance by Iyed, a 13-year-old singer and dancer who is visually impaired. He was lifted into the air by fellow performers, creating a memorable moment.

Source: HASNA / AFP

According to Andrew Graham, a dance artist and teacher based in Marseille with his company L’Autre Maison, the show’s primary focus is on the art of dance itself. “We see people dancing continuously for an hour, and very quickly, the spectators become engrossed in the dance, not necessarily concerned about who the performers are but rather in what they are doing,” he told the AFP.

The inspiration behind Lines

The concept for “Lines” originated from workshops in Tunis in 2021, organized by the arts organization L’Art Rue in collaboration with Dream City. The goal was to make art accessible to disadvantaged children. Choreographer Andrew Graham, aged 35 and with roots in both France and Britain, operates from Marseille with his company L’Autre Maison. He explains, “The idea is to break down all the walls.” His inspiration draws from his grandfather’s Sicilian-Tunisian background, and “Lines” also incorporates rhythmic hadra chants from Tunisia’s famous Muslim Sufi tradition.

Hakima Bessoud, the mother of 13-year-old Iyed, shares her pride in joining her son as they pursue a passion that was once a “childhood dream.” She left her job in the tourism sector in 2018 to support her son’s journey at the National Conservatory of Music of Tunis. Since rehearsals began for “Lines,” her life has undergone a transformative shift. “Before, I had the routine of a homemaker: children, the house,” she said. “Now, I have a lot of energy, and I rush to do everything to attend rehearsals,” she explained to the AFP.

Published on 29 September 2023